VTB Capital of Russia Says No Plan to Close NYC Office

VTB Capital, Russia’s largest investment bank, said it has no plans to close its office in New York or wind down trading activities.

VTB Capital “remains fully committed and properly resourced to service our U.S. clients,” Atanas Bostandjiev, London-based Chief Executive Officer of the company’s U.K. and international operations, said today in an e-mailed statement.

Two people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this week that the bank was considering cutting most of its New York staff should the U.S. impose additional sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine. The firm also was reviewing whether to wind down trading in New York, the people said, asking not to be identified because a final decision hadn’t been made.

The firm, a unit of VTB Group, Russia’s second-largest lender, received a license to trade stocks in the U.S. in 2011 and has the biggest business of any Russian bank on Wall Street.

President Vladimir Putin annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine last month. The U.S. responded by imposing sanctions on more than two dozen individuals and one company, St. Petersburg-based OAO Bank Rossiya. The Obama administration has threatened further penalties if efforts to disarm rebels in eastern Ukraine fail.

VTB Group CEO Andrey Kostin said this month that Russia is in a new Cold War with the U.S. and Europe that may result in all Russian lenders being blacklisted.

VTB Group earned 15 percent of its revenue outside of Russia in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. VTB Capital is the biggest organizer of Russian equity and bond deals over the past three years, the data show.

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